Smart TV incorporates all the benefits you get from the internet, such as streaming movies, Google maps, sharing pictures or making video calls, with all the usual functionality of a television set. It enables you to conveniently access both broadcast digital content and internet multimedia content using your remote and the on-screen interface. Some of the more advanced models don’t even have remotes, such as the 7000 and 8000 series Samsung Smart TVs. They use an integrated camera which senses motion and sound to navigate around the unit, a little like a cross between Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Kinect technology. Smart stuff!
The above examples have Smart TV already integrated, but having Smart TV doesn’t mean you need to purchase a whole new set. Apple TV is a small, standalone device that connects to your TV using an HDMI cable and connects wirelessly to your existing internet router. This enables you to connect to iTunes to watch movies, TV shows and much more.
Some Smart TVs are restricted to browsing the internet through online apps, which are just micro-websites or tools which make using the web a lot easier. For example, many enabled TVs come with BBC iPlayer and YouTube apps already installed, which make catching up on episodes and videos much easier than if you navigated via a search engine on your TV.
Although TVs are the last, everyday device to have got the internet wand waved at it, applying online capabilities to your box could cover a multitude of clutter and in your home. A smart TV could cover the work of a landline phone, TV, DVD player, home entertainment system, game station and even a home climate control system. You can Skype your friends and family, share media on social networking sites while still watching live TV and even sign up to a cheaper movie rental subscription or watch movies on demand.
With all of this at your fingertips, you can seriously consider cancelling any Sky or satellite contract and save hundreds of pounds each year. Opening TVs up to the world of internet means that online movie services such as Netflix or LoveFilm have been able to thrive giving providers like Sky and Virgin Media’s Tivo some healthy competition.
So, is it better to get a whole new TV or get a standalone device to access the plethora of internet content out there? That depends on your budget and needs, of course. Either way, incorporating internet with TV opens a whole world of new media for you to enjoy all in one place, with the benefit of viewing it on a larger screen than your laptop or phone.
- Alison Wright